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Skills development

Imperial recognises the critical importance of investing in skills and people development to the achievement of business goals. Businesses that are able to attract and retain top talent in a scarceskills environment will have a distinct competitive edge and greater sustainability.

Training and skills development programmes are implemented at all levels across the organisation – from technical training to executive leadership development. Through these initiatives we endeavour to provide our people with opportunities to grow and improve their knowledge, skills and abilities, and build a robust company manned by the best minds in the industry.

Our approach to people development is not limited to an internal focus on initiatives that develop our own skills pipeline. In a national context of critical skills shortages, unemployment and poverty, we recognise the need for organisations to partner with government in uplifting education and skills development for marginalised South Africans. A significant portion of our CSI funds is therefore channelled to the Imperial and Ukhamba Community Development Trust, which promotes effective learning and teaching at underresourced schools in impoverished communities in Gauteng. Our artisan training programmes also develop skills to boost the industry talent pipeline, not just to meet our own immediate technical skills needs.

Management and measurement

Skills development forms an integral part of our human capital strategy which outlines, amongst other things, our commitment to create skills, talent and leadership in our employee pool and to retain talented employees through competitive rewards and recognition and by providing them with development opportunities and promotion potential.

Skills and training needs differ vastly between Imperial’s many diverse businesses and each operation determines its own skills development needs according to a number of skills audit, talent management and related processes. We measure our skills development investment at the Imperial group level and the number of training man hours in each division.

All training initiatives should be viewed as part of the group’s broad talent management strategy where the focus is on both the effective recruitment of skilled people from the outside and on internal development.

Developing existing employees

The group invested R171 million in training in the past financial year including skills development levies and training facilities and dedicated 1 306 137 man hours to training employees.

For the 12 months to 30 June 2012:

Annual training 2012
Senior management 19 128   19 862  
Middle management 159 428   105 626  
Professional, production and technical staff 720 489   841 210  
Administrative and maintenance staff 407 092   412 917  
Total 1 306 137   1 379 616  

Man hours invested in training per division
Man hours invested in training per division

The table below indicates the number of participants in training and development initiatives that are instituted from a central (group) perspective.

  Number of
Training programme 2012
GIBS Senior Management Programme 78   0  
Middle Management Development Programmes 182   285  
Graduate Development Programme 108   108  
GIBS Executive Leadership Programme 118   124  
GERMISTON Technical Training Academy 345   358  
WADEVILLE Technical Training Academy 123   0  
CAPE TOWN Technical Training Academy 145   135  

Key training and development initiatives included the following:

Leadership development

A total of 186 members of executive and senior management teams from all divisions attended leadership development programmes run by the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS).

Management development programmes

A total of 182 employees in middle management positions from the car rental and tourism, logistics, automotive retail and distributorship divisions completed management development programmes that develop entrepreneurial skills. These programmes were tailored to Imperial’s specific environment and business models.

Artisan and related training

Imperial is an industry leader in artisan and technical training and during the year made considerable investment in expanding the facilities that offer training in these fields. (See the case study below.)

The group’s technical training academies are fully accredited with MERSETA, are registered decentralised trade tests centres and include Section 28 and Section 13 testing accreditation. Teaching staff at the Imperial academies have also been instrumental in re-writing the national CBMT curriculum that will appear in the first South African Automotive Technology textbook for the trade. The academies are represented on the regional and national Merseta Chamber, while key academy staff sit on the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) Trade Test Review Board and other committees that are in the process of realigning artisan training in South Africa.

The academies partnered with Sparrow Schools Combined FET College to provide workplace experience for 51 historically disadvantaged learners completing an NQF 2 Automotive Service and Repair learnership qualification. More than 40 of the learners were successfully placed in the Imperial apprenticeship programme.

In addition to the above mentioned programmes, each division also conducted a range of training interventions focusing on, amongst others, supervisory, technical/specialist, marketing, sales, and management training.

Attracting skilled employees

In addition to developing existing employees Imperial aims to attract highly skilled and motivated people from the external skills pool. We employ a number of initiatives to attract new talent to the company.

Through our graduate development programmes, we attract top young graduates from a number of universities and put them through management development programmes to strengthen the ranks of our middle management. A number of learnerships are also offered throughout the group.


Leading technical training in South Africa

The Imperial technical training academies are among South Africa’s largest providers of technical training and recognised as market leaders. In the year under review, their capacity was considerably increased and they now have a national capacity to train 1 200 apprentices. The expansion resulted in Germiston becoming a passenger-only Competency Based Modular Training (CBMT) centre with capacity for 500 apprentices. The Wadeville International Truck Centre now hosts the Heavy Vehicle Diesel academy, Auto Electrical, Autotronics and Forklift training centre and the Motorcycle and Scooter training academy took on its first apprentices in August 2012. The Cape Town Technical Training Academy invested R3 million in the latest technological tools and equipment, making it one of the most advanced training facilities of its kind. It provides training in CBMT, auto electrical and NQF learnerships for Passenger and Diesel and will take on Motorcycle and Scooter apprentices in the year ahead.

Plans are also in the pipeline for a new facility to be opened in Bloemfontein in the near future.

Our bursary programme identifies and supports high-potential school leavers from historically disadvantaged groups as they complete their tertiary education. Part of the bursary contract involves a commitment to work for Imperial on completion of their degrees. During the year we invested R1 084 786 in 66 bursaries for children of our staff. These are in the fields of engineering, commerce, information technology, logistics and marketing. We also invested R175 000 in seven bursaries for external students studying in the fields of logistics management, industrial engineering, transport economics.

A dedicated web-based career platform which is linked to the Imperial website helps the company to attract new talent, by providing job applicants with the opportunity to apply directly to the group. The appointment and selection processes are conducted at our in-house assessment centres by registered psychologists.


Offering market-competitive remuneration is a key pillar of our talent attraction and retention strategy. Imperial conducts market-related salary benchmarking exercises and offers competitive benefits to full-time employees. These include medical aid, life insurance, disability insurance and retirement provisions.

We operate a defined contribution pension scheme for employees in South Africa and it is mandatory for employees to participate in either an industry-based or a group defined contribution pension and provident fund.


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